Despite loss to Iowa, Michigan women's basketball should have clinched an NCAA bid

Michigan women's basketball is on the bubble but even after a loss to Iowa on Saturday, the Wolverines should be in the NCAA tournament.
Mar 9, 2024; Minneapolis, MN, USA;  Michigan Wolverines guard 5 Laila Phelia (5) brings the ball
Mar 9, 2024; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard 5 Laila Phelia (5) brings the ball / Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

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Things didn't go as hoped for the Michigan women's basketball team on Saturday. They ran into a buzzsaw in Iowa and Caitlin Clark.

Clark was off the charts and was as dangerous as a facilitator as a scorer. The Wolverines led early on and made their first six 3-point attempts, but at one point, Iowa had a 20-0 advantage in the paint, so you knew it was going to be hard for Michigan women's basketball to sustain.

Eventually, Iowa pulled away which will end the season for Michigan women's basketball for now. The Wolverines are now 20-13 on the season and following a quadrant-1 win over Indiana on Friday, you'd have to think that Michigan will make its sixth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance as an at-large selection.

The Wolverines made 10 shots from 3-point range, but Laila Phelia came back to Earth after averaging 26.5 points in the first two Big Ten tournament games. Michigan went cold in the second half before Iowa pulled away for the blowout win.

In terms of the at-large resume, Michigan women's basketball has six wins over top-50 teams according to the NET rankings. The Wolverines beat Ohio State earlier in the season and a big rally over Indiana on Friday should have clinched their berth.


Michigan women's basketball was projected as one of the last eight teams in the NCAA tournament before this weekend, so it's hard to see how a loss to Iowa, a top-five team with the best player in college basketball can hurt the Wolverines. They should be in the field and they should also avoid the first four of the NCAA tournament as well.